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Toynbee Hall was founded in 1884, born out of the ideals of the settlement movement. This was a reform movement whose aim was to alleviate poverty through creating new communities, in which the rich and the poor lived closely together, sharing skills and knowledge.

Attlee with boys 1930

Toynbee Hall was the first of the university settlement houses. It quickly became a model for others across Britain and the United States. Our archive documents the history of Toynbee Hall from its Victorian beginnings, up to the present day. 

What the Toynbee Hall archive contains

  • Annual reports
  • Journals 
  • Newsletters and other publications 
  • Correspondence  
  • Minutes and administrative records 
  • Photographs of buildings, events and people.
  • Publicity and campaigning materials.

Where the Toynbee Hall archive is held

Part of the archive is held at Toynbee Hall and part of it is held at the London Metropolitan Archives.

Toynbee Hall’s ‘Revealing Social Reform’ project

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded Toynbee Hall a grant to run an outreach and learning project based on our archive. ‘Revealing Social Reform’ aims to bring the history of Toynbee Hall to new audiences, by developing an exhibition, learning resources and workshops for schools and communities.

Visit our Flickr photo gallery

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How to contact us

If you have an enquiry about the archive material we hold at Toynbee Hall, please contact us via Please note that we can only offer limited access to researchers, but we will help wherever possible.

If you are interested in the material held at the London Metropolitan Archives, this collection can be searched online at